Fossil fuel pollution causes one in five premature deaths globally: study

By Matthew Green LONDON (Reuters) - Pollution from fossil fuels causes one in five premature deaths globally, suggesting the health impacts of burning coal, oil and natural gas may be far higher than previously thought, according to a study published on Tuesday. Parts of China, India, Europe and the northeastern United States are among the hardest-hit areas, suffering a disproportionately high share of 8.7 million annual deaths attributed to fossil fuels, the study published in the journal Environmental Research found.

Reuters February 10, 2021 00:10:50 IST
Fossil fuel pollution causes one in five premature deaths globally: study

Fossil fuel pollution causes one in five premature deaths globally study

By Matthew Green

LONDON (Reuters) - Pollution from fossil fuels causes one in five premature deaths globally, suggesting the health impacts of burning coal, oil and natural gas may be far higher than previously thought, according to a study published on Tuesday.

Parts of China, India, Europe and the northeastern United States are among the hardest-hit areas, suffering a disproportionately high share of 8.7 million annual deaths attributed to fossil fuels, the study published in the journal Environmental Research found.

The new research gives the most detailed assessment of premature deaths due to fossil-fuel air pollution to date. Another study in 2017 had put the annual number of deaths from all outdoor airborne particulate matter — including dust and smoke from agricultural burns and wildfires — at 4.2 million.

"Our study certainly isn't in isolation in finding a large impact on health due to exposure to air pollution, but we were blown away by just how large the estimate was that we obtained," said Eloise Marais, an expert in atmospheric chemistry at University College London, and a co-author of the study.

Previous research based on satellite data and ground observations had struggled to distinguish pollution caused by burning fossil fuels from other sources of harmful particulates, such as wildfires or dust.

The team from three British universities and Harvard University sought to overcome this problem by using a high-resolution model to give a clearer indication of which kinds of pollutants people were breathing in a particular area.

With concern growing over the role that burning fossil fuels plays in causing climate change, the authors said they hoped the study, based on data from 2018, would provide further impetus for governments to accelerate a shift to cleaner energy.

"We hope that by quantifying the health consequences of fossil fuel combustion, we can send a clear message to policymakers and stakeholders of the benefits of a transition to alternative energy sources," said co-author Joel Schwartz, an environmental epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

(Reporting by Matthew Green; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.